The Resurrection And Ascension Of Christ Jesus

The story of the resurrection of Christ Jesus is related by the four

Gospel narrators, and is to the effect that, after being crucified, his

body was wrapped in a linen cloth, laid in a tomb, and a "great stone"

rolled to the door. The sepulchre was then made sure by "sealing the

stone" and "setting a watch."

On the first day of the week some of Jesus' followers came to see the

sepulchre, when they found that, in spite of the "sealing" and the

"watch," the angel of the Lord had descended from heaven, had rolled

back the stone from the door, and that "Jesus had risen from the


The story of his ascension is told by the Mark[215:2] narrator, who

says "he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God;"

by Luke,[215:3] who says "he was carried up into heaven;" and by the

writer of the Acts,[215:4] who says "he was taken up (to heaven) and a

cloud received him out of sight."

We will find, in stripping Christianity of its robes of Paganism, that

these miraculous events must be put on the same level with those we have

already examined.

Crishna, the crucified Hindoo Saviour, rose from the dead,[215:5]

and ascended bodily into heaven.[215:6] At that time a great light

enveloped the earth and illuminated the whole expanse of heaven.

Attended by celestial spirits, and luminous as on that night when he was

born in the house of Vasudeva, Crishna pursued, by his own light, the

journey between earth and heaven, to the bright paradise from whence he

had descended. All men saw him, and exclaimed, "Lo, Crishna's soul

ascends its native skies!"[215:7]

Samuel Johnson, in his "Oriental Religions," tells us that Rama--an

incarnation of Vishnu--after his manifestations on earth, "at last

ascended to heaven," "resuming his divine essence."

"By the blessings of Rama's name, and through previous faith in him, all

sins are remitted, and every one who shall at death pronounce his name

with sincere worship shall be forgiven."[216:1]

The mythological account of Buddha, the son of the Virgin Maya, who,

as the God of Love, is named Cam-deo, Cam, and Cama, is of the

same character as that of other virgin-born gods. When he died there

were tears and lamentations. Heaven and earth are said equally to have

lamented the loss of "Divine Love," insomuch that Maha-deo (the

supreme god) was moved to pity, and exclaimed, "Rise, holy love!" on

which Cama was restored and the lamentations changed into the most

enthusiastic joy. The heavens are said to have echoed back the exulting

sound; then the deity, supposed to be lost (dead), was restored,

"hell's great dread and heaven's eternal admiration."[216:2]

The coverings of the body unrolled themselves, and the lid of his coffin

was opened by supernatural powers.[216:3]

Buddha also ascended bodily to the celestial regions when his mission

on earth was fulfilled, and marks on the rocks of a high mountain are

shown, and believed to be the last impression of his footsteps on this

earth. By prayers in his name his followers expect to receive the

rewards of paradise, and finally to become one with him, as he became

one with the Source of Life.[216:4]

Lao-Kiun, the virgin-born, he who had existed from all eternity, when

his mission of benevolence was completed on earth, ascended bodily into

the paradise above. Since this time he has been worshiped as a god,

and splendid temples erected to his memory.[216:5]

Zoroaster, the founder of the religion of the ancient Persians, who

was considered "a divine messenger sent to redeem men from their evil

ways," ascended to heaven at the end of his earthly career. To this

day his followers mention him with the greatest reverence, calling him

"The Immortal Zoroaster," "The Blessed Zoroaster," "The Living Star,"


AEsculapius, the Son of God, the Saviour, after being put to death,

rose from the dead. His history is portrayed in the following lines of

Ovid's, which are prophecies foretelling his life and actions:

"Once, as the sacred infant she surveyed,

The god was kindled in the raving maid;

And thus she uttered her prophetic tale:

Hail, great Physician of the world! all hail!

Hail, mighty infant, who in years to come

Shalt heal the nations, and defraud the tomb!

Swift be thy growth, thy triumphs unconfined,

Make kingdoms thicker, and increase mankind.

Thy daring art shall animate the dead,

And draw the thunder on thy guilty head;

Then shalt thou die, but from the dark abode

Shalt rise victorious, and be twice a god."[217:1]

The Saviour Adonis or Tammuz, after being put to death, rose from

the dead. The following is an account given of the rites of Tammuz or

of Adonis by Julius Firmicius (who lived during the reign of


"On a certain night (while the ceremony of the Adonia, or

religious rites in honor of Adonis, lasted), an image was laid

upon a bed (or bier) and bewailed in doleful ditties. After

they had satiated themselves with fictitious lamentations,

light was brought in: then the mouths of all the mourners were

anointed by the priests (with oil), upon which he, with a

gentle murmur, whispered:

'Trust, ye Saints, your God restored.

Trust ye, in your risen Lord;

For the pains which he endured

Our salvation have procured.'

"Literally, 'Trust, ye communicants: the God having been

saved, there shall be to us out of pain, Salvation.'"[217:2]

Upon which their sorrow was turned into joy.

Godwyn renders it:

"Trust ye in God, for out of pains,

Salvation is come unto us."[217:3]

Dr. Prichard, in his "Egyptian Mythology," tells us that the Syrians

celebrated, in the early spring, this ceremony in honor of the

resurrection of Adonis. After lamentations, his restoration was

commemorated with joy and festivity.[217:4]

Mons. Dupuis says:

"The obsequies of Adonis were celebrated at Alexandria (in

Egypt) with the utmost display. His image was carried with

great solemnity to a tomb, which served the purpose of

rendering him the last honors. Before singing his return to

life, there were mournful rites celebrated in honor of his

suffering and his death. The large wound he had received was

shown, just as the wound was shown which was made to Christ by

the thrust of the spear. The feast of his resurrection was

fixed at the 25th of March."[218:1]

In Calmet's "Fragments," the resurrection of Adonis is referred to as


"In these mysteries, after the attendants had for a long

time bewailed the death of this just person, he was at

length understood to be restored to life, to have

experienced a resurrection; signified by the re-admission of

light. On this the priest addressed the company, saying,

'Comfort yourselves, all ye who have been partakers of the

mysteries of the deity, thus preserved: for we shall now enjoy

some respite from our labors:' to which were added these

words: 'I have scaped a sad calamity, and my lot is greatly

mended.' The people answered by the invocation: 'Hail to the

Dove! the Restorer of Light!'"[218:2]

Alexander Murray tells us that the ancient Greeks also celebrated this

festival in honor of the resurrection of Adonis, in the course of which

a figure of him was produced, and the ceremony of burial, with weeping

and songs of wailing, gone through. After these a joyful shout was

raised: "Adonis lives and is risen again."[218:3]

Plutarch, in his life of Alcibiades and of Nicias, tells us that it was

at the time of the celebration of the death of Adonis that the

Athenian fleet set sail for its unlucky expedition to Sicily; that

nothing but images of dead Adonises were to be met with in the streets,

and that they were carried to the sepulchre in the midst of an immense

train of women, crying and beating their breasts, and imitating in every

particular the lugubrious pomp of interments. Sinister omens were drawn

from it, which were only too much realized by subsequent events.[218:4]

It was in an oration or address delivered to the Emperors Constans and

Constantius that Julius Firmicius wrote concerning the rites celebrated

by the heathens in commemoration of the resurrection of Adonis. In his

tide of eloquence he breaks away into indignant objurgation of the

priest who officiated in those heathen mysteries, which, he admitted,

resembled the Christian sacrament in honor of the death and

resurrection of Christ Jesus, so closely that there was really no

difference between them, except that no sufficient proof had been given

to the world of the resurrection of Adonis, and no divine oracle had

borne witness to his resurrection, nor had he shown himself alive

after his death to those who were concerned to have assurance of the

fact that they might believe.

The divine oracle, be it observed, which Julius Firmicius says had

borne testimony to Christ Jesus' resurrection, was none other than the

answer of the god Apollo, whom the Pagans worshiped at Delphos, which

this writer derived from Porphyry's books "On the Philosophy of


Eusebius, the celebrated ecclesiastical historian, has also condescended

to quote this claimed testimony from a Pagan oracle, as furnishing one

of the most convincing proofs that could be adduced in favor of the

resurrection of Christ Jesus.

"But thou at least (says he to the Pagans), listen to thine

own gods, to thy oracular deities themselves, who have borne

witness, and ascribed to our Saviour (Jesus Christ) not

imposture, but piety and wisdom, and ascent into heaven."

This was vastly obliging and liberal of the god Apollo, but, it happens

awkwardly enough, that the whole work (consisting of several books)

ascribed to Porphyry, in which this and other admissions equally

honorable to the evidences of the Christian religion are made, was not

written by Porphyry, but is altogether the pious fraud of Christian

hands, who have kindly fathered the great philosopher with admissions,

which, as he would certainly never have made himself, they have very

charitably made for him.[219:2]

The festival in honor of the resurrection of Adonis was observed in

Alexandria in Egypt--the cradle of Christianity--in the time of St.

Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria (A. D. 412), and at Antioch--the ancient

capital of the Greek Kings of Syria--even as late as the time of the

Emperor Julian (A. D. 361-363), whose arrival there, during the

solemnity of the festival, was taken as an ill omen.[219:3]

It is most curious that the arrival of the Emperor Julian at

Antioch--where the followers of Christ Jesus, it is said, were first

called Christians--at that time, should be considered an ill omen. Why

should it have been so? He was not a Christian, but a known apostate

from the Christian religion, and a zealous patron of Paganism. The

evidence is very conclusive; the celebration in honor of the

resurrection of Adonis had become to be known as a Christian festival,

which has not been abolished even unto this day. The ceremonies held in

Roman Catholic countries on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday, are

nothing more than the festival of the death and resurrection of Adonis,

as we shall presently see.

Even as late as the year A. D. 386, the resurrection of Adonis was

celebrated in Judea. St. Jerome says:

"Over Bethlehem (in the year 386 after Christ) the grove of

Tammuz, that is, of Adonis, was casting its shadow! And in the

grotto where formerly the infant Anointed (i. e., Christ

Jesus) cried, the lover of Venus was being mourned."[220:1]

In the idolatrous worship practiced by the children of Israel was that

of the worship of Adonis.

Under the designation of Tammuz, this god was worshiped, and had his

altar even in the Temple of the Lord which was at Jerusalem. Several of

the Psalms of David were parts of the liturgical service employed in his

worship; the 110th, in particular, is an account of a friendly alliance

between the two gods, Jehovah and Adonis, in which Jehovah adorns Adonis

for his priest, as sitting at his right hand, and promises to fight for

him against his enemies. This god was worshiped at Byblis in Phoenicia

with precisely the same ceremonies: the same articles of faith as to his

mystical incarnation, his precious death and burial, and his glorious

resurrection and ascension, and even in the very same words of religious

adoration and homage which are now, with the slightest degree of

variation that could well be conceived, addressed to the Christ of the


The prophet Ezekiel, when an exile, painted once more the scene he had

so often witnessed of the Israelitish women in the Temple court

bewailing the death of Tammuz.[220:2]

Dr. Parkhurst says, in his "Hebrew Lexicon":

"I find myself obliged to refer Tammuz, as well as the Greek

and Roman Hercules, to that class of idols which were

originally designed to represent the promised Saviour (Christ

Jesus), the desire of all nations. His other name, Adonis, is

almost the very Hebrew word 'Our Lord,' a well-known title of


So it seems that the ingenious and most learned orthodox Dr. Parkhurst

was obliged to consider Adonis a type of "the promised Saviour (Christ

Jesus), the desire of all nations." This is a very favorite way for

Christian divines to express themselves, when pushed thereto, by the

striking resemblance between the Pagan, virgin-born, crucified, and

resurrected gods and Christ Jesus.

If the reader is satisfied that all these things are types or symbols of

what the "real Saviour" was to do and suffer, he is welcome to such

food. The doctrine of Dr. Parkhurst and others comes with but an ill

grace, however, from Roman Catholic priests, who have never ceased to

suppress information when possible, and when it was impossible for them

to do so, they claimed these things to be the work of the devil, in

imitation of their predecessors, the Christian Fathers.

Julius Firmicius has said: "The devil has his Christs," and does not

deny that Adonis was one. Tertullian and St. Justin explain all the

conformity which exists between Christianity and Paganism, by

asserting "that a long time before there were Christians in existence,

the devil had taken pleasure to have their future mysteries and

ceremonies copied by his worshipers."[221:1]

Osiris, the Egyptian Saviour, after being put to death, rose from the

dead,[221:2] and bore the title of "The Resurrected One."[221:3]

Prof. Mahaffy, lecturer on ancient history in the University of Dublin,

observes that:

"The Resurrection and reign over an eternal kingdom, by an

incarnate mediating deity born of a virgin, was a

theological conception which pervaded the oldest religion of


The ancient Egyptians celebrated annually, in early spring, about the

time known in Christian countries as Easter, the resurrection and

ascension of Osiris. During these mysteries the misfortunes and tragical

death of the "Saviour" were celebrated in a species of drama, in which

all the particulars were exhibited, accompanied with loud lamentations

and every mark of sorrow. At this time his image was carried in a

procession, covered--as were those in the temples--with black veils.

On the 25th of March his resurrection from the dead was celebrated

with great festivity and rejoicings.[221:5]

Alexander Murray says:

"The worship of Osiris was universal throughout Egypt, where

he was gratefully regarded as the great exemplar of

self-sacrifice--in giving his life for others--as the

manifestor of good, as the opener of truth, and as being full

of goodness and truth. After being dead, he was restored to


Mons. Dupuis says on this subject:

"The Fathers of the Church, and the writers of the Christian

sect, speak frequently of these feasts, celebrated in honor of

Osiris, who died and arose from the dead, and they draw a

parallel with the adventurers of their Christ. Athanasius,

Augustin, Theophilus, Athenagoras, Minucius Felix, Lactantius,

Firmicius, as also the ancient authors who have spoken of

Osiris . . . all agree in the description of the universal

mourning of the Egyptians at the festival, when the

commemoration of that death took place. They describe the

ceremonies which were practiced at his sepulchre, the tears,

which were there shed during several days, and the festivities

and rejoicings, which followed after that mourning, at the

moment when his resurrection was announced."[222:1]

Mr. Bonwick remarks, in his "Egyptian Belief," that:

"It is astonishing to find that, at least, five thousand years

ago, men trusted an Osiris as the 'Risen Saviour,' and

confidently hoped to rise, as he arose, from the


Again he says:

"Osiris was, unquestionably, the popular god of Egypt. . . .

Osiris was dear to the hearts of the people. He was

pre-eminently 'good.' He was in life and death their friend.

His birth, death, burial, resurrection and ascension, embraced

the leading points of Egyptian theology." "In his efforts to

do good, he encounters evil. In struggling with that, he is

overcome. He is killed. The story, entered into in the account

of the Osiris myth, is a circumstantial one. Osiris is buried.

His tomb was the object of pilgrimage for thousands of years.

But he did not rest in his grave. At the end of three days,

or forty, he arose again, and ascended to heaven. This is the

story of his humanity." "As the invictus Osiris, his tomb

was illuminated, as is the holy sepulchre of Jerusalem now.

The mourning song, whose plaintive tones were noted by

Herodotus, and has been compared to the 'miserere' of Rome,

was followed, in three days, by the language of


Herodotus, who had been initiated into the Egyptian and Grecian

"Mysteries," speaks thus of them:

"At Sais (in Egypt), in the sacred precinct of Minerva; behind

the chapel and joining the wall, is the tomb of one whose name

I consider it impious to divulge on such an occasion; and in

the inclosure stand large stone obelisks, and there is a lake

near, ornamented with a stone margin, formed in a circle, and

in size, as appeared to me, much the same as that in Delos,

which is called the circular. In this lake they perform by

night the representation of that person's adventures, which

they call mysteries. On these matters, however, though

accurately acquainted with the particulars of them, I must

observe a discreet silence; and respecting the sacred rites

of Ceres, which the Greeks call Thesmyphoria, although I am

acquainted with them, I must observe silence except so far as

is lawful for me to speak of them."[222:4]

Horus, son of the virgin Isis, experienced similar misfortunes. The

principal features of this sacred romance are to be found in the

writings of the Christian Fathers. They give us a description of the

grief which was manifested at his death, and of the rejoicings at his

resurrection, which are similar to those spoken of above.[222:5]

Atys, the Phrygian Saviour, was put to death, and rose again from

the dead. Various histories were given of him in various places, but

all accounts terminated in the usual manner. He was one of the "Slain

Ones" who rose to life again on the 25th of March, or the "Hilaria" or

primitive Easter.[223:1]

Mithras, the Persian Saviour, and mediator between God and man, was

believed by the inhabitants of Persia, Asia Minor and Armenia, to have

been put to death, and to have risen again from the dead. In their

mysteries, the body of a young man, apparently dead, was exhibited,

which was feigned to be restored to life. By his sufferings he was

believed to have worked their salvation, and on this account he was

called their "Saviour." His priests watched his tomb to the midnight

of the veil of the 25th of March, with loud cries, and in darkness;

when all at once the lights burst forth from all parts, and the priest


"Rejoice, Oh sacred Initiated, your god is risen. His death,

his pains, his sufferings, have worked our salvation."[223:2]

Mons. Dupuis, speaking of the resurrection of this god, says:

"It is chiefly in the religion of Mithras. . . . that we

find mostly these features of analogy with the death and

resurrection of Christ, and with the mysteries of the

Christians. Mithras, who was also born on the 25th of

December, like Christ, died as he did; and he had his

sepulchre, over which his disciples came to shed tears. During

the night, the priests carried his image to a tomb, expressly

prepared for him; he was laid out on a litter, like the

Phoenician Adonis.

"These funeral ceremonies, like those on Good Friday (in Roman

Catholic churches), were accompanied with funeral dirges and

groans of the priests; after having spent some time with these

expressions of feigned grief; after having lighted the sacred

flambeau, or their paschal candle, and anointed the image

with chrism or perfumes, one of them came forward and

pronounced with the gravest mien these words: 'Be of good

cheer, sacred band of Initiates, your god has risen from the

dead. His pains and his sufferings shall be your


In King's "Gnostics and their Remains" (Plate XI.), may be seen the

representation of a bronze medal, or rather disk, engraved in the

coarsest manner, on which is to be seen a female figure, standing in the

attitude of adoration, the object of which is expressed by the

inscription--ORTVS SALVAT, "The Rising of the Saviour"--i. e., of


"This medal" (says Mr. King), "doubtless had accompanied the

interment of some individual initiated into the Mithraic

mysteries; and is certainly the most curious relic of that

faith that has come under my notice."[224:2]

Bacchus, the Saviour, son of the virgin Semele, after being put to

death, also arose from the dead. During the commemoration of the

ceremonies of this event the dead body of a young man was exhibited with

great lamentations, in the same manner as the cases cited above, and at

dawn on the 25th of March his resurrection from the dead was celebrated

with great rejoicings.[224:3] After having brought solace to the

misfortunes of mankind, he, after his resurrection, ascended into


Hercules, the Saviour, the son of Zeus by a mortal mother, was put to

death, but arose from the funeral pile, and ascended into heaven in a

cloud, 'mid peals of thunder. His followers manifested gratitude to

his memory by erecting an altar on the spot from whence be


Memnon is put to death, but rises again to life and immortality. His

mother Eos weeps tears at the death of her son--as Mary does for Christ

Jesus--but her prayers avail to bring him back, like Adonis or Tammuz,

and Jesus, from the shadowy region, to dwell always in Olympus.[224:6]

The ancient Greeks also believed that Amphiaraus--one of their most

celebrated prophets and demi-gods--rose from the dead. They even

pointed to the place of his resurrection.[224:7]

Baldur, the Scandinavian Lord and Saviour, is put to death, but does

not rest in his grave. He too rises again to life and immortality.[224:8]

When "Baldur the Good," the beneficent god, descended into hell, Hela

(Death) said to Hermod (who mourned for Baldur): "If all things in the

world, both living and lifeless, weep for him, then shall he return to

the AEsir (the gods)." Upon hearing this, messengers were dispatched

throughout the world to beg everything to weep in order that Baldur

might be delivered from hell. All things everywhere willingly complied

with this request, both men and every other living being, so that

wailing was heard in all quarters.[225:1]

Thus we see the same myth among the northern nations. As Bunsen says:

"The tragedy of the murdered and risen god is familiar to us

from the days of ancient Egypt: must it not be of equally

primeval origin here?" [In Teutonic tradition.]

The ancient Scandinavians also worshiped a god called Frey, who was

put to death, and rose again from the dead.[225:2]

The ancient Druids celebrated, in the British Isles, in heathen times,

the rites of the resurrected Bacchus, and other ceremonies, similar to

the Greeks and Romans.[225:3]

Quetzalcoatle, the Mexican crucified Saviour, after being put to

death, rose from the dead. His resurrection was represented in Mexican

hieroglyphics, and may be seen in the Codex Borgianus.[225:4]

The Jews in Palestine celebrated their Passover on the same day that

the Pagans celebrated the resurrection of their gods.

Besides the resurrected gods mentioned in this chapter, who were

believed in for centuries before the time assigned for the birth of

Christ Jesus, many others might be named, as we shall see in our chapter

on "Explanation." In the words of Dunbar T. Heath:

"We find men taught everywhere, from Southern Arabia to

Greece, by hundreds of symbolisms, the birth, death, and

resurrection of deities, and a resurrection too, apparently

after the second day, i. e., on the third."[225:5]

And now, to conclude all, another god is said to have been born on the

same day[225:6] as these Pagan deities; he is crucified and buried,

and on the same day[225:7] rises again from the dead. Christians of

Europe and America celebrate annually the resurrection of their

Saviour in almost the identical manner in which the Pagans celebrated

the resurrection of their Saviours, centuries before the God of the

Christians is said to have been born. In Roman Catholic churches, in

Catholic countries, the body of a young man is laid on a bier, and

placed before the altar; the wound in his side is to be seen, and his

death is bewailed in mournful dirges, and the verse, Gloria Patri, is

discontinued in the mass. All the images in the churches and the altar

are covered with black, and the priest and attendants are robed in

black; nearly all lights are put out, and the windows are darkened. This

is the "Agonie," the "Miserere," the "Good Friday" mass. On Easter

Sunday[226:1] all the drapery has disappeared; the church is

illuminated, and rejoicing, in place of sorrow, is manifest. The

Easter hymns partake of the following expression:

"Rejoice, Oh sacred Initiated, your God is risen. His death,

his pains, his sufferings, have worked our salvation."

Cedrenus (a celebrated Byzantine writer), speaking of the 25th of March,


"The first day of the first month, is the first of the month

Nisan; it corresponds to the 25th of March of the Romans,

and the Phamenot of the Egyptians. On that day Gabriel

saluted Mary, in order to make her conceive the Saviour. I

observe that it is the same month, Phamenot, that Osiris

gave fecundity to Isis, according to the Egyptian theology.

On the very same day, our God Saviour (Christ Jesus), after

the termination of his career, arose from the dead; that is,

what our forefathers called the Pass-over, or the passage of

the Lord. It is also on the same day, that our ancient

theologians have fixed his return, or his second


We have seen, then, that a festival celebrating the resurrection of

their several gods was annually held among the Pagans, before the time

of Christ Jesus, and that it was almost universal. That it dates to a

period of great antiquity is very certain. The adventures of these

incarnate gods, exposed in their infancy, put to death, and rising again

from the grave to life and immortality, were acted on the Deisuls and

in the sacred theatres of the ancient Pagans,[226:3] just as the

"Passion Play" is acted to-day.

Eusebius relates a tale to the effect that, at one time, the

Christians were about to celebrate "the solemn vigils of Easter," when,

to their dismay, they found that oil was wanted. Narcissus, Bishop of

Jerusalem, who was among the number, "commanded that such as had charge

of the lights, speedily to bring unto him water, drawn up out of the

next well." This water Narcissus, "by the wonderful power of God,"

changed into oil, and the celebration was continued.[227:1]

This tells the whole story. Here we see the oil--which the Pagans had

in their ceremonies, and with which the priests anointed the lips of the

Initiates--and the lights, which were suddenly lighted when the god

was feigned to have risen from the dead.

With her usual policy, the Christian Church endeavored to give a

Christian significance to the rites borrowed from Paganism, and in

this case, as in many others, the conversion was particularly easy.

In the earliest times, the Christians did not celebrate the resurrection

of their Lord from the grave. They made the Jewish Passover their

chief festival, celebrating it on the same day as the Jews, the 14th of

Nisan, no matter in what part of the week that day might fall.

Believing, according to the tradition, that Jesus on the eve of his

death had eaten the Passover with his disciples, they regarded such a

solemnity as a commemoration of the Supper and not as a memorial of the

Resurrection. But in proportion as Christianity more and more separated

itself from Judaism and imbibed paganism, this way of looking at the

matter became less easy. A new tradition gained currency among the Roman

Christians to the effect that Jesus before his death had not eaten the

Passover, but had died on the very day of the Passover, thus

substituting himself for the Paschal Lamb. The great Christian festival

was then made the Resurrection of Jesus, and was celebrated on the first

pagan holiday--Sun-day--after the Passover.

This Easter celebration was observed in China, and called a

"Festival of Gratitude to Tien." From there it extended over the then

known world to the extreme West.

The ancient Pagan inhabitants of Europe celebrated annually this same

feast, which is yet continued over all the Christian world. This

festival began with a week's indulgence in all kinds of sports, called

the carne-vale, or the taking a farewell to animal food, because it

was followed by a fast of forty days. This was in honor of the Saxon

goddess Ostrt or Eostre of the Germans, whence our Easter.[227:2]

The most characteristic Easter rite, and the one most widely diffused,

is the use of Easter eggs. They are usually stained of various colors

with dye-woods or herbs, and people mutually make presents of them;

sometimes they are kept as amulets, sometimes eaten. Now, "dyed eggs

were sacred Easter offerings in Egypt;"[228:1] the ancient Persians,

"when they kept the festival of the solar new year (in March), mutually

presented each other with colored eggs;"[228:2] "the Jews used eggs in

the feast of the Passover;" and the custom prevailed in Western


The stories of the resurrection written by the Gospel narrators are

altogether different. This is owing to the fact that the story, as

related by one, was written to correct the mistakes and to endeavor to

reconcile with common sense the absurdities of the other. For instance,

the "Matthew" narrator says: "And when they saw him (after he had

risen from the dead) they worshiped him; but some doubted."[228:4]

To leave the question where this writer leaves it would be fatal. In

such a case there must be no doubt. Therefore, the "Mark" narrator

makes Jesus appear three times, under such circumstances as to render

a mistake next to impossible, and to silence the most obstinate

skepticism. He is first made to appear to Mary Magdalene, who was

convinced that it was Jesus, because she went and told the disciples

that he had risen, and that she had seen him. They--notwithstanding

that Jesus had foretold them of his resurrection[228:5]--disbelieved,

nor could they be convinced until he appeared to them. They in turn

told it to the other disciples, who were also skeptical; and, that they

might be convinced, Jesus also appeared to them as they sat at meat,

when he upbraided them for their unbelief.

This story is much improved in the hands of the "Mark" narrator, but,

in the anxiety to make a clear case, it is overdone, as often happens

when the object is to remedy or correct an oversight or mistake

previously made. In relating that the disciples doubted the words of

Mary Magdalene, he had probably forgotten Jesus had promised them that

he should rise, for, if he had told them this, why did they doubt?

Neither the "Matthew" nor the "Mark" narrator says in what way

Jesus made his appearance--whether it was in the body or only in the

spirit. If in the latter, it would be fatal to the whole theory of

the resurrection, as it is a material resurrection that Christianity

taught--just like their neighbors the Persians--and not a


To put this disputed question in its true light, and to silence the

objections which must naturally have arisen against it, was the object

which the "Luke" narrator had in view. He says that when Jesus

appeared and spoke to the disciples they were afraid: "But they were

terrified and affrighted, and supposed they had seen a

spirit."[229:2] Jesus then--to show that he was not a spirit--showed

the wounds in his hands and feet. "And they gave him a piece of a

broiled fish, and of a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before

them."[229:3] After this, who is there that can doubt? but, if the

fish and honeycomb story was true, why did the "Matthew" and

"Mark" narrators fail to mention it?

The "Luke" narrator, like his predecessors, had also overdone the

matter, and instead of convincing the skeptical, he only excited their


The "John" narrator now comes, and endeavors to set matters right. He

does not omit entirely the story of Jesus eating fish, for that would

not do, after there had been so much said about it. He might leave it

to be inferred that the "Luke" narrator made a mistake, so he modifies

the story and omits the ridiculous part. The scene is laid on the shores

of the Sea of Tiberias. Under the direction of Jesus, Peter drew his net

to land, full of fish. "Jesus said unto them: Come and dine. And none of

the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.

Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish


It does not appear from this account that Jesus ate the fish at all.

He took the fish and gave to the disciples; the inference is that

they were the ones that ate. In the "Luke" narrator's account the

statement is reversed; the disciples gave the fish to Jesus, and he

ate. The "John" narrator has taken out of the story that which was

absurd, but he leaves us to infer that the "Luke" narrator was

careless in stating the account of what took place. If we leave out of

the "Luke" narrator's account the part that relates to the fish and

honeycomb, he fails to prove what it really was which appeared to the

disciples, as it seems from this that the disciples could not be

convinced that Jesus was not a spirit until he had actually eaten


Now, if the eating part is struck out--which the "John" narrator

does, and which, no doubt, the ridicule cast upon it drove him to

do--the "Luke" narrator leaves the question just where he found it.

It was the business of the "John" narrator to attempt to leave it

clean, and put an end to all cavil.

Jesus appeared to the disciples when they assembled at Jerusalem. "And

when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side."[230:1]

They were satisfied, and no doubts were expressed. But Thomas was not

present, and when he was told by the brethren that Jesus had appeared to

them, he refused to believe; nor would he, "Except I shall see in his

hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the

nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe."[230:2]

Now, if Thomas could be convinced, with all his doubts, it would be

foolish after that to deny that Jesus was not in the body when he

appeared to his disciples.

After eight days Jesus again appears, for no other purpose--as it would

seem--but to convince the doubting disciple Thomas. Then said he to

Thomas: "Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither

thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but

believing."[230:3] This convinced Thomas, and he exclaimed: "My Lord and

my God." After this evidence, if there were still unbelievers, they

were even more skeptical than Thomas himself. We should be at a loss to

understand why the writers of the first three Gospels entirely omitted

the story of Thomas, if we were not aware that when the "John"

narrator wrote the state of the public mind was such that proof of the

most unquestionable character was demanded that Christ Jesus had risen

in the body. The "John" narrator selected a person who claimed he was

hard to convince, and if the evidence was such as to satisfy him, it

ought to satisfy the balance of the world.[230:4]

The first that we knew of the fourth Gospel--attributed to John--is

from the writings of Irenaeus (A. D. 177-202), and the evidence is that

he is the author of it.[230:5] That controversies were rife in his day

concerning the resurrection of Jesus, is very evident from other

sources. We find that at this time the resurrection of the dead

(according to the accounts of the Christian forgers) was very far from

being esteemed an uncommon event; that the miracle was frequently

performed on necessary occasions by great fasting and the joint

supplication of the church of the place, and that the persons thus

restored by their prayers had lived afterwards among them many years. At

such a period, when faith could boast of so many wonderful victories

over death, it seems difficult to account for the skepticism of those

philosophers, who still rejected and derided the doctrine of the

resurrection. A noble Grecian had rested on this important ground the

whole controversy, and promised Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, that if

he could be gratified by the sight of a single person who had been

actually raised from the dead, he would immediately embrace the

Christian religion.

"It is somewhat remarkable," says Gibbon, the historian, from whom we

take the above, "that the prelate of the first Eastern Church, however

anxious for the conversion of his friend, thought proper to decline

this fair and reasonable challenge."[231:1]

This Christian saint, Irenaeus, had invented many stories of others

being raised from the dead, for the purpose of attempting to strengthen

the belief in the resurrection of Jesus. In the words of the Rev.

Jeremiah Jones:

"Such pious frauds were very common among Christians even in

the first three centuries; and a forgery of this nature, with

the view above-mentioned, seems natural and probable."

One of these "pious frauds" is the "Gospel of Nicodemus the Disciple,

concerning the Sufferings and Resurrection of our Master and Saviour

Jesus Christ." Although attributed to Nicodemus, a disciple of Jesus,

it has been shown to be a forgery, written towards the close of the

second century--during the time of Irenaeus, the well-known pious

forger. In this book we find the following:

"And now hear me a little. We all know the blessed Simeon, the

high-priest, who took Jesus when an infant into his arms in

the temple. This same Simeon had two sons of his own, and we

were all present at their death and funeral. Go therefore and

see their tombs, for these are open, and they are risen;

and behold, they are in the city of Arimathaea, spending their

time together in offices of devotion."[231:2]

The purpose of this story is very evident. Some "zealous believer,"

observing the appeals for proof of the resurrection, wishing to make it

appear that resurrections from the dead were common occurrences,

invented this story towards the close of the second century, and

fathered it upon Nicodemus.

We shall speak, anon, more fully on the subject of the frauds of the

early Christians, the "lying and deceiving for the cause of Christ,"

which is carried on even to the present day.

As President Cheney of Bates College has lately remarked, "The

resurrection is the doctrine of Christianity and the foundation of the

entire system,"[232:1] but outside of the four spurious gospels this

greatest of all recorded miracles is hardly mentioned. "We have epistles

from Peter, James, John, and Jude--all of whom are said by the

evangelists to have seen Jesus after he rose from the dead, in none of

which epistles is the fact of the resurrection even stated, much less

that Jesus was seen by the writer after his resurrection."[232:2]

Many of the early Christian sects denied the resurrection of Christ

Jesus, but taught that he will rise, when there shall be a general


No actual representation of the resurrection of the Christian's Saviour

has yet been found among the monuments of early Christianity. The

earliest representation of this event that has been found is an ivory

carving, and belongs to the fifth or sixth century.[232:3]


[215:1] See Matthew, xxviii. Mark, xvi. Luke, xxiv. and John, xx.

[215:2] Mark, xvi. 19.

[215:3] Luke, xxiv. 51.

[215:4] Acts, i. 9.

[215:5] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 240. Higgins:

Anacalypsis, vol. ii. pp. 142 and 145.

[215:6] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 131. Bonwick's Egyptian

Belief, p. 168. Asiatic Researches, vol. i. pp. 259 and 261.

[215:7] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 72. Hist. Hindostan, ii. pp.

466 and 473.

"In Hindu pictures, Vishnu, who is identified with Crishna, is often

seen mounted on the Eagle Garuda." (Moore: Hindu Panth. p. 214.) And M.

Sonnerat noticed "two basso-relievos placed at the entrance of the choir

of Bordeaux Cathedral, one of which represents the ascension of our

Saviour to heaven on an Eagle." (Higgins: Anac., vol. i. p. 273.)

[216:1] Oriental Religions, pp. 494, 495.

[216:2] Asiatic Res., vol. x. p. 129. Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 103.

[216:3] Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 49.

[216:4] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 86. See also, Higgins:

Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 159.

[216:5] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 214.

[216:6] Ibid. p. 258.

[217:1] Ovid's Metamorphoses, as rendered by Addison. Quoted in Taylor's

Diegesis, p. 148.

[217:2] Quoted by Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 114. See also,

Taylor's Diegesis, pp. 163, 164.

[217:3] Taylor's Diegesis, p. 164.

[217:4] Prichard's Egyptian Mythology, pp. 66, 67.

[218:1] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 161. See also, Dunlap's

Mysteries of Adoni, p. 23, and Spirit Hist. of Man, p. 216.

[218:2] Calmet's Fragments, vol. ii. p. 21.

[218:3] Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 86.

[218:4] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Beliefs, p. 261.

[219:1] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Beliefs, p. 247, and Taylor's

Diegesis, p. 164.

[219:2] See Taylor's Diegesis, p. 164. We shall speak of Christian

forgeries anon.

[219:3] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 2.

[220:1] Quoted in Dunlap's Son of the Man, p. vii. See also, Knight:

Ancient Art and Mythology, p. xxvii.

"From the days of the prophet Daniel, down to the time when the red

cross knights gave no quarter (fighting for the Christ) in the streets

of Jerusalem, the Anointed was worshiped in Babylon, Basan, Galilee and

Palestine." (Son of the Man, p. 38.)

[220:2] Ezekiel, viii. 14.

[220:3] Quoted in Taylor's Diegesis, p. 162, and Higgins: Anacalypsis,

vol. ii. p. 114.

[221:1] See Justin: Cum. Typho, and Tertullian: De Bap.

[221:2] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 16, and vol. i. p. 519.

Also, Prichard's Egyptian Mythology, p. 66, and Bonwick's Egyptian

Belief, p. 163.

[221:3] See Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 166, and Dunlap's Mysteries of

Adoni, pp. 124, 125.

[221:4] Prolegomena to Ancient History.

[221:5] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 102.

[221:6] Murray: Manual of Mythology, pp. 347, 348.

[222:1] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 256.

[222:2] Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. vi.

[222:3] Ibid. pp. 150-155, 178.

[222:4] Herodotus, bk. ii. chs. 170, 171.

[222:5] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 263, and Higgins:

Anacalypsis, vol. ii. 108.

[223:1] See Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 169. Higgins: Anacalypsis,

vol. ii. p. 104. Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 255. Dunlap's

Mysteries of Adoni, p. 110, and Knight: Anct. Art and Mythology, p. 86.

[223:2] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 99. Mithras remained in the

grave a period of three days, as did Christ Jesus, and the other

Christs. "The Persians believed that the soul of man remained yet three

days in the world after its separation from the body." (Dunlap:

Mysteries of Adoni, p. 63.)

"In the Zoroastrian religion, after soul and body have separated, the

souls, in the third night after death--as soon as the shining sun

ascends--come over the Mount Berezaiti upon the bridge Tshinavat which

leads to Garonmana, the dwelling of the good gods." (Dunlap's Spirit

Hist., p. 216, and Mysteries of Adoni, 60.)

The Ghost of Polydore says:

"Being raised up this third day--light, Having deserted my body!"

(Euripides, Hecuba, 31, 32.)

[223:3] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Beliefs, pp. 246, 247.

[224:1] King's Gnostics and their Remains, p. 225.

[224:2] Ibid. p. 226.

[224:3] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 102. Dupuis: Origin of

Religious Belief, pp. 256, 257, and Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 169.

[224:4] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 135, and Higgins:

Anacalypsis, vol. i. 322.

[224:5] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 294. See also, Goldzhier's Hebrew

Mythology, p. 127. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 322, and Chambers's

Encyclo., art. "Hercules."

[224:6] Aryan Mytho., vol. ii. p. 90.

[224:7] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 56.

[224:8] Aryan Mytho., vol. ii p. 94.

[225:1] Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 449.

[225:2] See Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 85.

[225:3] See Davies: Myths and Rites of the British Druids, pp. 89 and


[225:4] See Kingsborough's Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 166.

[225:5] Quoted in Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 174.

[225:6] As we shall see in the chapter on "The Birth-day of Christ


[225:7] Easter, the triumph of Christ, was originally solemnized on

the 25th of March, the very day upon which the Pagan gods were believed

to have risen from the dead. (See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief,

pp. 244, 255.)

A very long and terrible schism took place in the Christian Church upon

the question whether Easter, the day of the resurrection, was to be

celebrated on the 14th day of the first month, after the Jewish custom,

or on the Lord's day afterward; and it was at last decided in favor of

the Lord's day. (See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 90, and

Chambers's Encyclopaedia, art. "Easter.")

The day upon which Easter should be celebrated was not settled until the

Council of Nice. (See Euseb. Life of Constantine, lib. 3, ch. xvii.

Also, Socrates' Eccl. Hist. lib. 1, ch. vi.)

[226:1] Even the name of "EASTER" is derived from the heathen goddess,

Ostrt, of the Saxons, and the Eostre of the Germans.

"Many of the popular observances connected with Easter are clearly of

Pagan origin. The goddess Ostara or Eastre seems to have been the

personification of the morning or East, and also of the opening year or

Spring. . . . With her usual policy, the church endeavored to give a

Christian significance to such of the rites as could not be rooted out;

and in this case the conversion was practically easy." (Chambers's

Encyclo., art. "Easter.")

[226:2] Quoted in Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 244.

[226:3] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 340.

[227:1] Eccl. Hist., lib. 6, c. viii.

[227:2] Anacalypsis, ii. 59.

[228:1] See Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 24.

[228:2] See Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Easter."

[228:3] Ibid.

[228:4] Matthew, xxviii. 17.

[228:5] See xii. 40; xvi. 21; Mark, ix. 31; xiv. 23; John, ii. 10.

[229:1] "And let not any one among you say, that this very flesh is

not judged, neither raised up. Consider, in what were ye saved? in what

did ye look up, if not whilst ye were in this flesh? We must, therefore,

keep our flesh as the temple of God. For in like manner as ye were

called in the flesh, ye shall also come to judgment in the flesh. Our

one Lord Jesus Christ, who has saved us, being first a spirit, was made

flesh, and so called us: even so we also in this flesh, shall receive

the reward (of heaven)." (II. Corinthians, ch. iv. Apoc. See also

the Christian Creed: "I believe in the resurrection of the body.")

[229:2] Luke, xxiv. 37.

[229:3] Luke, xxiv. 42, 43.

[229:4] John, xxi. 12, 13.

[230:1] John, xx. 20.

[230:2] John, xx. 25.

[230:3] John, xx. 27.

[230:4] See, for a further account of the resurrection, Reber's Christ

of Paul; Scott's English Life of Jesus; and Greg's Creed of Christendom.

[230:5] See the Chapter xxxviii.

[231:1] Gibbon's Rome, vol. i. p. 541.

[231:2] Nicodemus, Apoc. ch. xii.

[232:1] Baccalaureate Sermon, June 26th, 1881.

[232:2] Greg: The Creed of Christendom, p. 284.

[232:3] See Jameson's Hist. of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii., and Lundy's

Monumental Christianity.

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